As a Christian, there are many times where I have prayed asking God for His peace that transcends all understanding. There are many times where I have cried to Him and asked Him for comfort. There are many times where I have cast my cares unto Him hoping He would take my anxiety away.
There are many times He has gifted me with His comfort, wisdom, peace, and easy yoke. But there are also many times that my feelings didn’t match my knowledge of His goodness, power, and faith.
The reality for us is that we live in a broken world where we get hurt by people, we hurt people, and we get traumatized by experiences. So, what do we do when we’ve cried out to God, prayed to God, and laid everything at His feet, but still can’t seem to shake the anxiousness, depressiveness, or anger of the moment?
We can praise Him for what He has already done for us on the cross and go to therapy.
If we look to the examples of people’s stories shared in the Bible, we can learn a little bit more about what it is like to come face to face with our suffering, but still praise God for His goodness. David lamented often; sharing the fear he had of his oppresses, the depression he had with his loneliness, and the guilt he had for his wrongdoing of others. He didn’t ignore his experience of pain, shame, and anxiousness. He stepped into it. And He still knew that God loved Him. Habakkuk shared his frustration and distress with God about the horrible state of his nation. He questioned what God was doing and shared what he thought should be done. God welcomed his questions and shared with him His plans for redemption of the nation. This didn’t change the pain that Habakkuk experienced, but it did change his understanding of the situation.
When God asks us to “not be anxious about anything,” He isn’t asking us to fake a brave face and look like we have it all together. He genuinely wants our hearts to have peace and for us to know that anxiety is not His hope for us. But oftentimes there is some work we need to do because of how our nervous system has developed from the traumas of life.
There is a common misconception that I think often holds many Christians back from seeking therapy: that going to a therapist for help means that I am giving up on God for help. Therapy does not need to be a replacement for leaning on God, but rather, a resource to help us understand the sources of our distress, discomfort, and unhealthy patterns.
God knows that we are only human; limited in our strength, understanding, and abilities. This is why He created us with a heart desiring of community:
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”
2 Corinthians 1:3-4
“Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.”
He has placed other people in our lives to be a source of comfort, guidance, and support. Other people can help us to recognize when we may be holding on to a belief that does not benefit us, when we may have habitual behaviors that negatively affect ourselves and/or our relationships, and when we may be having trouble seeing other sides to an incomplete picture.
EMDR therapy challenges the brain that God created to process through things that we may not have been able to fully process through when we felt alone. By stepping into the pain and suffering, we can understand different sides of it that we didn’t see or understand before, allowing us to no longer walk in blindness. By putting in this work alongside our father and our therapist, we can walk through life feeling less triggered, less weighed down, and more secure. It’s God’s heart to be there with you always. That doesn’t stop the moment you walk into a counseling office!